Small housing allowed

An amendment to Summerland’s Official Community Plan and zoning bylaw will allow for the creation of a pocket neighbourhood.

An amendment to Summerland’s Official Community Plan and zoning bylaw will allow for the creation of a pocket neighbourhood at the site of the former RMCP detachment.

On Monday, municipal council voted to prepare the necessary amendments to create the small development.

The development would have 14 single family houses on the 0.5 hectare property.

Vehicle parking would be in a central location, but the homes would be no more than 22 metres from the parking spaces.

Municipal planner Ian McIntosh said the development would have smaller, more affordable homes close to the core of the community.

“It’s an infill type of zone,” he said.

In March, 2012, a plan was presented to set up a pocket neighborhood at the former police detachment site.

Members of council said the plan was important as it would provide affordable housing options for the community.

In 2013, a request for proposals went forward, but McIntosh said only one proposal came forward. That proposal did not meet the municipality’s requirements.

Two proposals for purchase were later received and the municipality is considering an agreement with one of the developers.

Municipal staff have selected one of the proposals and are negotiating an agreement.

The zoning and community plan changes are needed before construction can begin.

McIntosh said the cost of the homes would be between $260,000 to just over $300,000.

This is considerably lower than the average assessed value of a home in Summerland.

According to figures released by B.C. Assessment at the beginning of the year, the average value of a home in the community was $419,000, a slight increase from a year earlier.

Coun. Lloyd Christopherson, an advocate of the pocket neighbourhood concept, said the community must consider new methods to provide affordable housing.

“We have to change our way of thinking,” he said.

He added that while there have been some complaints about the shared parking for the proposed pocket neighbourhood, every condominium development in Summerland already has shared parking areas in place.

Coun. Martin Van Alphen said he supports the idea, but is concerned that the development could eventually become an age-restricted complex.

He said the pocket neighbourhood should be in place for younger people looking to get into the housing market rather than a development for retirees.